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How can this guide help me?

This guide provides general information about how to resolve a dispute with a trader involving an amount of $25,000 or less.

The consumer-trader dispute claim procedures provide a quick and affordable way to help you collect what you are owed. You can do it yourself, without using a lawyer. This guide tells you:

  • your rights as a consumer
  • the procedure you will go through to resolve your dispute with a trader,
  • if you go to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)
  • how to fill in the forms you will need.

If your dispute relates to purchasing a new or used warranted vehicle from a licenced motor dealer and the vehicle if defective, then you may be able to claim up to $100,000 in compensation. Get legal advice.

What is a consumer and trader dispute?

Consumer and trader disputes are disputes against another person, trader or company resulting from a contract for the supply of goods and services, up to $25,000.

Use the consumer and trader dispute section of this guide if:

  • your dispute is $25,000 or less and you believe a trader has broken an
  • agreement you had about purchasing a product or service, or
  • you are a trader and want to dispute an agreement with another trader
  • who has provided you with goods or services
  • you are within the time limit for making the claim—you usually have six
  • years from the time the dispute began to bring your claim before the tribunal, so get legal advice to see if your claim is within the time limit.
  • you are a Queensland resident and the trader ordinarily carries on business in Queensland.

Do not use this guide if:

  • your consumer and trader dispute is for more than $25,000
  • your claim is not for a fixed amount
  • you want to claim a minor debt (see Legal Aid Queensland’s Does someone owe you money? guide)
  • you have a claim against a builder for losses associated with residential building work
  • you have a dispute about a bond held by the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA)
  • you are claiming unpaid wages under the Fair Work Act.

The QCAT has other processes for some of these claims. For more information visit their website or call 1300 753 228.

Do I need to get legal advice?

It can sometimes be difficult to know whether your claim is a consumer and trader dispute. If you are unsure get legal advice from:

  • Legal Aid Queensland – call 1300 65 11 88 (for the cost of a local call from a landline in Australia). Mobile phone users can call 07 3238 3444 (call costs may vary, check with your service provider). Legal Aid is focused on providing legal advice to financially disadvantaged Queenslanders. To find out more visit
  • a community legal centre – go to or call 1300 65 11 88 to check services in your area
  • a private lawyer – call the Queensland Law Society on (07) 3842 5842 for names of lawyers who can help.
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